Sunday, 23 December 2012

#HandmadeMonday - Yes, I Can Actually Complete Knitting Projects

Oh, my goodness - I'm glad this bauble is done! It was *way* harder than I expected: it's on 4 DPNs for a start - which somehow seems a lot of fuss for a little bauble - and it is basically all casting on and off . . .  and has a *chart*! Fouf. Still, it looks cute now, though I wasn't feeling quite so fond of it last night, as I struggled to knit around the polystyrene ball (yes, the top segment is knitted once the polystyrene ball is in) while trying to keep track of Hunted...  The ball was harder to find than I expected, too - but they had loads in Something Special  in Feathers Yard, Holt (where they also sell some nice James Brett yarn and great dress-making fabrics). I was going to buy about 12 balls and make a garland - I'm so glad common sense kicked in and I thought I'd just try the one...
A bigger achievement, now: my GF's jumper is done - woo hooo!  This has been on the go for a while. I wish I could say it's been a pleasure. Actually the yarn itself has been: I didn't use the Sirdar Chunky that the pattern was written for, but some gorgeous Sublime Merino Chunky which is pure wool. It feels just luscious. However, the making of the jumper was a drama! Firstly, my GF is a size 14, but I had to undo part of the back and reknit it as a 16. Then I nearly ran out of wool, even though I'd bought TWO extra balls, and the requirements were the same for the 16 as the 14 . . . I think this is a feature of Sirdar patterns as I also ran out of wool when I made my own top similar to this one: I used the proper wool, too, for that one and the lovely @SmilesALot very kindly sent me a rescue ball from her stash to complete it.
*Anyway*, also, on the jumper above: I knitted what I thought was the front, all the cables etc, only to find that it was only the back! I obviously hadn't looked carefully enough at the pattern, but I could already see that the wool situation was going to be tight ... so I had to unpick the top and shape the neck to turn the cabled back into the front, and then knit a plain stocking stitch back to save wool. It seems to have worked, although I didn't plan for the fact that cables pull the knitted fabric in rather, so the SS back is a little wider than the front - but actually, although I worried about it while stitching it up, you can't tell.  I was asked, plaintively, a fair few times by my GF whether she would be able to wear it at Christmas and now - hurrah - she can. So, overall, I'm quite pleased - but I am also relieved it's worked out so well! Christmas can go ahead, after all!


Saturday, 22 December 2012

Yep, All I Do Is Drink Coffee & Knit.

We started Christmas shopping sensibly early this year, as we send a package to Australia. The Craft Fairs run by the March Hare Collective have really nice things - and lots of lightweight things suitable for posting! Jane Crick prints badges, journals and papers and we bought some jewellery from another stall too. Since I've started selling my knitting (in a very small way!) I've become much more appreciative of the time and effort it costs people to make such good quality things themselves, so I was glad we supported this. It was really busy and had a lovely, jolly atmosphere so I hope they all did well.
I feel I've spent most of my time recently squirrelling away Christmas presents and having coffee in various places, like our local Costa:
But also the lovely Coffee House where they had some fab KeepCup decorations:
I've managed a trip to Lavenham, too, to Cafe Knit, where Victoria had a gorgeous, Christmassy window display:
Crochet snowflakes on the left, knitted trees on the right . . .  beautiful! Victoria had some new Artesano yarn, made from British wool - it looked gorgeous and the colours were really luscious, dark, rich shades. A nice pattern book, too. It's a bit too late for my Christmas list, sadly, but if I get a voucher, I may be heading back for that lovely wool.
I always pop into Lavenham's St Peter & St Paul's church, too, and this week they have a really lovely but slightly sad memory tree in the churchyard:
In the wooden box are gift tags and a pen, so that you can write the names of people you remember and tie them to the tree. Lots of people had done this, and I wrote one, too. A really nice experience, and a poignant one, too, among all the excitement and bustle of shopping.
I feel I should mention the Works I Currently Have In Progress - but it's clear from this post that, er, I've been out and about rather than getting on with my Christmas knitting! I have finished a couple of things, so will write another post soon with some pictures!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Other People's Photos Have a Restorative Effect

For some reason, all my crafting and knitting this week has seemed like *hard work.* In fact, there's a pretty obvious reason: I've had to undo a lot of the jumper for my girlfriend as she wanted the next size up. Although the pattern lists the same amount of yarn for the original size and the new, bigger, size, it really isn't looking good on the yarn front - and I've got a whole polo neck to come...! So, I was particularly pleased to get this photo:

This lovely baby is my friend's daughter, wearing the cardigan I made for her! I really appreciate my friend taking this photo (in fact, four such photos!) and sending it on - it's lovely to see it looking so nice on her little girl (see my earlier post on Ungrateful Recipients!). The pattern is from the fabulous More Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. I have blogged about this pattern before - it's great, all knitted in the round, in speedy Aran. My only emendation was to add buttonholes. Hooray! Looking at this successful #FO heartens me as I contemplate more unravelling of the chunky tanktop....
Also: over on Ravelry, at , I have been so flattered to see that two people have made my Christmas Crochet Snowflake and posted up pictures! So, many thanks to EyesOnSaturday and MinnehahaSybyl for posting their pictures and showing that the pattern really worked, rather than being just an idiosyncratic jotting of my own....
OK, now I've boosted my knitting confidence - better get unravelling....

Sunday, 2 December 2012

In Which I Mostly Drink Coffee & Buy Wool...

This was *just* what I needed: a huge cheese scone (missed photo opportunity there because I just had to scoff it) and a lovely, dark strong coffee at Back to the Garden in Letheringsett, near Holt, Norfolk.  Here is the interior of the cafe:

It is in a gorgeous restored old barn, full of light and beautiful beams. *And* they have a knitting group on a Tuesday morning - I'm a bit envious of people knitting and drinking coffee in this gorgeous location. They have a farm shop, too:
Luscious. Here is their website:
Then, on to Holt, and to its lovely wool shop, Les Tricoteuses. Managed to buy more Debbie Bliss Blue-faced Leicester Aran there, to make another Louisa Harding hat. It's lovely yarn, not too silky and quite plump (not the technical term, I'm sure, buy hey) and feels like it'd make a nice hat. The shop is jam-packed with wool - you need to leave time to have a rummage! So, all in all, a successful day!